(Posted on 01/02/14)
A basic knowledge of oriental carpet design is essential, not only as an aid to identification, but also as an important means of gaining insight into the rich and infinitely varied religious and cultural heritage of the weavers themselves. Unlike their Western counterparts, who usually strive for individual expression and the creation of a new visual language, oriental textile artists are more content to reproduce the time honoured designs of their ancestors and seek to express a collective rather than an individual view of their world. This is particularly true of nomadic groups, who have hardly changed their repertoire for generations and who still seek to weave the beliefs and aspirations of their tribe into the very fabric of their rugs, as a testament to their way of life and tribal identity. The collective expression of an individual nomadic group, village, region or even an entire country is, however, modified by the wider unifying influences of culture, religion and ethnic origin. The result is a fascinating and poignant tapestry in which each rug is both the unique expression of an individual tribe or group and, at the same time, an integral part of the wider forces that have shaped the carpet-making world.